Research Fellow in Subsurface Microbial Nitrogen Cycling

Southampton, United Kingdom
£32,348 to £37,474 per annum
30 Sep 2022
End of advertisement period
27 Oct 2022
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Marine Biogeochemistry

Location:  National Oceanography Centre Southampton
Salary:   £32,348 to £37,474 per annum
Full Time Fixed Term (until 31/07/2025)
Closing Date:  Thursday 27 October 2022
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1894322HN-R

Location:  Waterfront Campus (National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research fellow position to study microbial nitrogen utilization and cycling processes in the subsurface serpentinizing system of the Samail Ophiolite (Oman) – based across both Marine Biogeochemistry and Geochemistry Groups of the School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton. The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary research team, and use state-of-the-art hydro/geochemical measurements to couple with bioimaging/ molecular analyses (with others in the team), to determine exactly which form(s) of nitrogen is/are actively taken up by microbes to support the subsurface biosphere, and how energy-yielding nitrogen cycling processes may support life within a subsurface serpentinizing system. These systems have been hypothesized as analogous to that inhabited by early life on Earth, while at the same time hold strong potentials for geological carbon storage. Knowledge gained from this work may thus have important implications for geomicrobiology/ astrobiology as well as carbon capture. 

The post will primarily involve designing and conducting a series of 15N-labeling experiments in the field in order to characterize and quantify the microbial pathways responsible for nitrogen acquisition, as well as the energy-yielding active nitrogen cycling processes in the subsurface biosphere; and subsequent stable isotopic analyses in home/partner laboratories. Prior experiences in these techniques and mass spectrometry are essential. You should have a PhD or equivalent in a relevant area of aquatic geochemistry and/or geomicrobiology. You will be expected to have sound knowledge in nitrogen cycling and microbial ecology. The ability to integrate hydro/ biogeochemical findings with molecular and bioimaging analyses in the context of microbial ecology will also be desirable. You will join several field campaigns (each ca. 3 weeks long), and occasionally visit project partner institutions nationally/internationally for complementary analyses. There will also be exposure and opportunities to interact with the international research community of the Oman Drilling Project. You will need to demonstrate good organizational skills, a proactive approach, ability to use own initiative and well-developed attention to detail.   You should feel comfortable to work independently whilst also being a good team player.

The position is funded by a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grant, and the salary is £32,348 to £37,474 per annum, commensurate with experience. This is a fixed-term position until 31st July, 2025. Informal enquires are welcome, and should be directed to Dr Phyllis Lam ( and/or Juerg Matter (

You should submit your completed online application form at The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Holly Shergold (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 5719, or email Please quote reference 1894322HN-R  on all correspondence.

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